Benitez Facing Crucial Matches as Liverpool Face Unirea and Man Cityby Mick Bates / 18 February 2010, 12:06Tweet
Just about one month ago Rafa Benitez was under increasing pressure and looked set to be on his way out of Anfield and heading back to Spain after a terrible start to the season, things have picked up for Liverpool since though and they now face a crucial few days with their season on the line. Thursday night sees the Reds take on Unirea Urziceni in the Europa League in a tournament thats their last chance of silverware before heading to Man City on Sunday in a crucial match in the race for Champions League qualification. A couple of poor results in theses two matches will see Benitez once again come under pressure from the fans, the team cannot afford to many more slip ups this season if they are to extract some form of pride from the campaign.
The bookies are backing Liverpool in the Europa League and have them as clear favourites to pick up the trophy but Unirea should not be underestimated as they too are a Champions league team, they were formerly managed by Dan Petrescu who has since moved on but they will be relishing their night at Anfield. Steven Gerrard has spoken about the importance of Liverpool as a club picking up more silverware and winning the Europa League would certainly ease the pain of an early exit from the Champions League. Silverware would also ease the pressure on Benitez come the end of the season and afford the Spaniard more time in his quest to bring the Premier League to Anfield as well as boosting the coffers.
The match against Man City on Sunday is perhaps the more important of the two this week with both teams fighting it out for that 4th spot, City are the front runners at the moment with a game in hand but a win for Liverpool would put them firmly in the driving seat. Benitez knows that Champions League qualification is the absolute minimum at a club like Liverpool and a defeat here will see his odds slashed in the Next Premier League Manager To be Sacked Betting. Fernando Torres has been missing for a number of weeks now but reports suggest he should be back in a week or two which will give Rafa a huge boost as the team approach the run-in in both Europe and domestically, if he gets into scoring form then Liverpool should be able to finish the season with a bang.